Extremist movements — such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Shabab — fuel, and often stem from, instability and violent conflict and present a complex challenge. The U.S. Institute of Peace works to understand the underlying causes of violent extremism and helps develop localized and viable solutions by providing research, training and expertise to practitioners and policymakers. From examining the critical role of women in combating violent extremism in Afghanistan to exploring the dynamics of radicalization in Kosovo, USIP seeks to reduce this ever-shifting threat.
After the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi and the increasing presence of al-Shabaab in nearby countries, Tanzania turned to community policing as a way of responding to the threat of violent extremism. But is it having the desired outcome? This new report, based on workshops and interviews with police, community leaders, and others, examines the challenges and potential of community policing in addressing Tanzania’s public safety and security concerns.
As the international community works to prevent new generations of radicalization in war-torn regions, debate focuses often on the problem of people uprooted from their homes—a population that has reached a record high of 68.5 million people. Public discussion in Europe, the United States and elsewhere includes the notion that displaced peoples are at high risk of being radicalized by extremist groups such as ISIS. Scholars and peacebuilding practitioners have rightly warned against such generalizations, underscoring the need to learn which situations may make uprooted people vulnerable to radicalization. A new USIP study from Afghanistan notes the importance of specific conditions faced by displaced people—and it offers indications suggesting the importance for policy of supporting early interventions to stabilize the living conditions of displaced people after they return home.
As the last pockets of the Islamic State’s “caliphate” collapse this month, nations far from the battlefield face an increasingly urgent challenge: How to reintegrate the group’s former militants as they come home and seek to disengage from extremist violence. For the officials in charge of the process, it’s an undertaking fraught with uncertainty whose failure could mean continued recruitment or even terrorism on their streets.
Afghanistan’s next generation of leaders have an opportunity to break out of the cycles of violence that have caused civil wars, insurgencies, and widespread human rights abuses and domestic violence over the past decades. To do this, government officials and community leaders need to have practical skills to identify sources of conflict and know how to de-escalate tensions and negotiate peaceful solutions.
The RESOLVE Network is a global consortium of researchers and research organizations in agreement that factors contributing to community vulnerability and resilience to violent extremism are contextual.